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Pay for Holiday Work


General Schedule, Foreign Personnel and Federal Wage System (FWS) employees are eligible. FWS employees, see pay policies titled “Night Shift Differential” and “Environmental Differential Pay.”  Senior Executive Service, Senior Foreign Service, and Foreign Service Officer employees are ineligible.

Rate for Holiday Work 

Holiday work means non-overtime work performed by an employee during a regularly scheduled daily tour of duty on a holiday (Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations 550.103).  An employee who performs holiday work is entitled to pay at their rate of basic pay plus premium pay at a rate equal to their rate of basic pay for that holiday work that is not in excess of 8 hours (5 CFR 550.131).

General Entitlement Considerations 

Holiday pay, which is sometimes referred to as "double-time", is not to be confused with overtime pay.  Holiday premium pay is pay for non-overtime hours of work.  Overtime premium pay is pay for hours of work in excess of the daily or weekly overtime standards, regardless of the day.

Holiday entitlement, i.e., an employee's right to either a paid day off or holiday premium pay for a holiday worked, depends on whether an employee is regularly scheduled.  An employee who is not regularly scheduled has no entitlement to a paid holiday off and no entitlement to holiday premium pay.  A regularly scheduled employee must be allowed one or the other. 

When the holiday falls on an employee's regular day off, the employee must be given a day for the holiday. 

Specific Entitlements 

Regularly scheduled full-time and part-time employees who work a holiday earn holiday premium pay for all non-overtime hours up to 8 hours. 

Employees who do not have a regularly scheduled tour of duty earn basic pay only for non-overtime hours worked on a holiday.  If the holiday falls on their non-work day, they have no entitlement to a paid day off for the holiday.

Employees who work some regularly scheduled hours on a holiday and some hours which are not regularly scheduled earn basic pay for the non-overtime hours which are not regularly scheduled and holiday pay for all non-overtime hours up to eight which are regularly scheduled. 

An intermittent employee is ineligible for holiday pay because they do not have a regularly scheduled tour of duty.

An expert or consultant hired under 5 U.S.C. 3109 is ineligible for holiday pay unless the contract provides for holiday pay.

Full-time and part-time employees on flexible work schedules (not compressed) are entitled to up to 8 hours holiday premium pay for non-overtime work on a holiday.  Full-time and part-time employees on compressed (fixed/no flex) schedules who work the holiday are entitled to holiday premium pay for all non-overtime hours of work scheduled for that day to apply to their “basic work requirement.”  For example, if a holiday falls on a 9- or 10-hour basic workday, the employee's holiday is 9 or 10 hours, respectively.

Employees who work a regular tour which spans a holiday and a non-holiday are paid holiday pay for all non-overtime hours of the tour.

If an employee works two shifts on a holiday, holiday pay is limited to the non-overtime hours of one tour, which one is a matter for management discretion.

Effect of Absence on Leave 

An employee continues to receive holiday pay while on jury duty, on military leave, and while in receipt of continuation of pay following a work-related traumatic injury, but not for any other type of absence.

Overtime Work On a Holiday 

An employee is entitled to compensation for overtime work on a holiday at the same rate as for overtime work on other days.  This overtime compensation is in addition to the premium pay earned by an employee who works overtime on a holiday.  An employee will be compensated with holiday pay for the first 8 hours on that day (or for the hours needed to total to 40 hours in a week), or for an employee under a compressed work schedule is hours of work in excess of the employee's compressed work schedule (e.g., 8-, 9-, or 10-hour "basic work requirement") on that day, and then paid overtime for the hours worked beyond this.  

Call-Back on a Holiday 

If call-back work performed on a holiday does not exceed two hours, and takes place wholly within hours which coincide with the employee's normal working hours, the employee's entitlements to holiday pay and call-back pay are said to be coextensive, i.e., both entitlements stem from the same period of time.  In this case, the employee will be paid for two hours at the holiday premium rate.  An employee who is called-back several times on a holiday is entitled to a minimum of two hours holiday pay each time called back, the total not to exceed the non-overtime hours of the employee's tour. 

If holiday call-back work spans non-overtime and overtime hours, that portion which coincides with the employee's non-overtime hours will be paid at the holiday rate and the overtime portion will be paid at the overtime rate. (See the pay policy titled “Eligibility for Paid Holidays” for examples of coextensive payments.) 

Relation to Overtime, Night, and Sunday Pay 

Premium pay for holiday work is in addition to overtime pay, night differential, or premium pay for Sunday work and is not included in the rate of basic pay used to compute night differential or premium pay for Sunday work (5 CFR 550.132).  It is included in computation of the overtime entitlement of FLSA exempt (not-covered) employees.

Travel on a Holiday 

Premium pay for travel on a holiday occurring during the employee's basic workweek is compensable at the holiday rate only when the travel meets the criteria in the pay policy titled “Compensable Overtime Travel” and is considered "hours of work."

Recording Hours for Which Holiday Pay is Payable

Holiday pay is payable in 15-minute increments rounded up to the nearest full quarter-hour; 8 or more minutes must be rounded up to the next quarter-hour, and 8 minutes will be considered part of the previous quarter-hour.


Reviewed by OHRM, August 2020.

References: 5 CFR 550.103, 550.131, 550.132; OPM Fact Sheet, “Federal Holidays - Work Schedules and Pay”